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How to goose up flavor of ricotta?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
We like stuffed pasta shells, and get nice fresh ricotta locally, but I would like more flavor in it. I've added grated parm, but that didn't seem to do the trick; and we sprinkle lots of it over the top.

There's plenty of garlic in the sauce, so that would be redundant. Maybe chopped green onions...

I'd appreciate some suggestions.

Thanks,

Mike :confused: :chef:
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #2 of 15
Herbed ricotta, maybe a few pepper flakes?
post #3 of 15
What kind of parm are you using?

Have you tried some fresh ground black pepper?

scb
post #4 of 15
The ricotta here is usually good as is - especially sheep ricotta. (There was a lady where we used to go on vacation in the mountains of abruzzo, who made it outside her house, on the pavement, with a camping stove. She'd scoop it up hot into the baskets and it was amazing. )
But even the commercial one is ok but then i'm in the land of ricotta.
However, the traditional flavoring is parmigiano (lots) mixed in and a bit of nutmeg. I recommend using good quality imported parmigiano.
I might also suggest finding some pecorino romano and grating that in, and it might give a bit more flavor, and some of the sheepiness of good sheep ricotta.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #5 of 15
Sshhhh, don't say this to anyone else: Lemon zest.
...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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...."This whole reality thing is really not what I expected it would be"......
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post #6 of 15
freshly grated nutmeg
"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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"If we're not supposed to eat animals, why are they made of meat?" Jo Brand
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post #7 of 15
Herbs, nutmeg, lemone zest are all good. Personally I've never used parm with ricotta so what Siduri mentions about the Romano is perfect for us too. We also seek out a sheeps milk ricotta but it's hit or miss since we left KC. Every now and then I would find it at Whole Foods.

My mix for lasagne is ricotta, eggs, romano, parsley, salt, pepper and from time to time I add shredded provolone picante. Have added spinach, gorgonzola, sundried tomatoes, olives and even a touch of cinnamon & sugar
post #8 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thanks to all for the usual helpful responses. I'm open to more, but probably have enough to go from these suggestions.

Always can count on the ChefTalk community!

Mike :D
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #9 of 15
Puree of caramelized onion and golden raisins...plenty of fresh ground black pepper, salt, and a little nutmeg....with the addition of Regianno...try adding
low moisture mozzarella.....
post #10 of 15
might be a little extreme in the flavor, but an olive tapenade would be a bright spark against the creamy smoothness of ricotta, just be careful, a little goes a long way.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #11 of 15
Thread Starter 
"What kind of parm are you using?"

C'mon Shel... that's insulting! :rolleyes:

You think I'd hang around this forum for almost seven and a half years and still use the stuff in the green cardboard can? :lol: :lol: :eek:

Seriously, I keep wedges of Parm Reggiano and grate it as needed.

I'm going to use some of the suggestions above, for which I am, as always, grateful.

Mike :roll:
travelling gourmand
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travelling gourmand
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post #12 of 15
Ricotta, at its best, is a mild flavored cheese. I love it, but it's nevertheless mild. You start to doll it up with fried onions or olives or other stuff, and you end up with something that no longer is ricotta. Then forget the ricotta and stuff your shells with the onions and olives, and make a different kind of dish. Maybe use some sharp cheese, one that will hold up to the olives or garlic or onion or whatever.
It's not a question of being "purist" because i love inventive recipes and am so fed up with purism in italian cooking (down to the shape of the pasta you are allowed to use for the kind of sauce), but ricotta mixed with strong flavorings is no longer ricotta but just some sort of white stuff to hold them together.
Get some good ricotta, and just TASTE it. It has a taste, really, and it's a very delicate taste, so you have to act accordingly. Or so i think. If you DON;T like the taste, use something else that you like the taste of.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #13 of 15
I very seldom used ricotta since it is bland used as is , but found out that adding some pesto will make it really delicious
post #14 of 15
A friend cooked a dish for us once that had ricotta seasoned with lemon basil. It was unique and delicious :)
post #15 of 15
Another way to boost the flavor of ricotta would be to mix fine cubed cheddar cheese into. I like to add half swiss and half sharp cheddar if I feel I want to do something without any added garlic. You have to come up with our own cheese mix to make it exclusive your taste, the way you and your famity likes it. You can use just about any kind of cheese.
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